A couple of weeks ago Prof (light Sussex) went broody. I tried taking her out of the nest multiple times a day, locking her out, putting ice in the coop all to no avail. I was about to try and find a broody buster cage, but managed to convince my husband to get a couple of fertile eggs instead . Yesterday I went for the eggs are & instead came home with two 1 day old chicks (on the advice of the chicken guy) - a silver Sussex & a silver laced Wyandotte . We put a hat over profs head, stuck the chicks under her and walked away - scary! Checked yesterday evening & today and I think all is well. She has moved her best a bit & the chicks seem to have gone with her (I can't see them anywhere else). I'm pretty sure I heard a couple of peeps from under her, but she attacks me when I try & lift her wing so I can't know for sure.
Anyway, I now need a plan for the care of these guys. Because I have a microcoop, I cannot section her off (a bigger coop is on the list). I have put a shallow waterer & chick starter in the coop & some had been eaten today. The other girls only go to the coop to roost & lay as their food and water is in the run. They were all locked in the coop last night & all seems well this morning so I don't think that will be a drama.
So my current plan is to leave Prof to it. We have put a block over the door of the run so the big girls can get out into the mesh area and the chicks cannot (they could walk straight through the mesh & I worry magpies will eat them. We will check every evening to make sure they have managed to get back up the ramp once prof lets them out, which I'm hoping will not be for a week or two. The guy in the chicken place said to just keep feeding layer mix & starter, as 'mum knows best & will teach them what to do'. From what I have read here that seems like incorrect advice, so I am thinking of converting all the girls to grower & keeping it out in the mesh area so the chicks can't get it for a few weeks. The run has sand in it, so I'm guessing I don't need to provide grit for them?
That only leaves disease management. The chicks are vaccinated for Mareks, and on medicated starter. the chicken guy says as they are outside they should be all good, and only to treat with corid if they become lethargic. I know some give prophylactically in water, so I'd be interested to know thoughts on this.
Any advice on my plan would be appreciated. I like the idea of leaving them to it, and intervening as little as possible, let's see how it goes!
Cheers in advance,